Myths vs. Facts: The Truth about Smart Meters
Misunderstanding advanced technology can lead to the emergence of urban legends. The case is no different with smart meters, which utilities are rolling out across North America to bring the many benefits of a modern electric grid to consumers like you.
Here are the most common smart meter myths. Our responses, each supported by research, offer the facts — the real deal on smart meters.
MYTH - Smart meters are less accurate than other meters.
NB Power only uses meters that are certified for accuracy by Measurement Canada. In addition, smart meters are rigorously tested for accuracy even before they leave the manufacturing plant. Bills based on smart meter data will accurately reflect customers’ energy use, just as the current meters do. NB Power inspects its meters based on the mandatory requirements set forth by Measurement Canada.
MYTH - Smart meters are a health threat because they communicate using radio frequency.
Like many other electronics used in Canadian households every day, smart meters work using low-level radio signals called radio frequencies (RF). Some customers have questions about the health effects of exposure to radio frequency. Over the past 30 years more than 25,000 articles have been published on radio frequency. Knowledge in this area is now very extensive. Here are the facts:
- People are exposed to far lower levels of RF from smart meters than from many other electronic devices used in everyday life, such as WiFi routers, cell phones, and microwave ovens, to name a few.
- All of our meters meet Industry Canada standards and are subject to thorough testing, and we will continue to meet those standards.
- An in-depth review of the scientific literature by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that the small amount of RF produced by smart meters is not harmful to human health.
MYTH -Smart meters are an invasion of privacy.
NB Power adheres to strict data privacy policies. The privacy of your data is protected now, and we work constantly to safeguard it. That will not change with the use of smart meters. Here are the facts:
- All information is transmitted over a secure network.
- No private, customer-identifying information is collected or transmitted across the network.
- Smart meters measure how much energy you use, based on time of day, not how you use it. Unless you chose to install a home energy management system, smart meters cannot tell whether the energy used is from your oven, air conditioner, or hairdryer.
- Cyber security is a mandatory requirement of the modern digital energy network. Before implementation, all components will be reviewed following strict cyber security criteria and will be continuously monitored for any potential issues by our IT Security Team.
MYTH - Smart meters do not provide any consumer benefits.
As part of a smarter, more efficient power grid, smart meters provide important consumer benefits, including the following:
- Customers will have access to detailed information about their daily energy usage, so they can make informed decisions.
- In many cases, smart meters will notify NB Power when customers lose power so we can get to work faster to restore power.
- Customers will be able to set up high-bill alerts and get tips on how to avoid high bills.
- We’ll be able to connect and reconnect service remotely, speeding up service and reducing the need to schedule an onsite visit.
- Customers’ electricity consumption will be recorded several times daily. If an estimate is required for billing purposes, having the data from recent actual readings will enable more accurate estimates.
- The smart meter will lay the foundation for a host of future benefits, including better integration of renewable energy solutions on customers’ homes and businesses, more options that will allow customers to take advantage of lower rates at certain times of day, and new energy-saving products and services.
MYTH - Smart meters are hazardous, increasing the risk of fire and explosion.
At NB Power, nothing is more important than safety. The smart meters that would be installed by NB Power meet Industry Canada standards and are certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL), which requires that they pass safety tests.
In addition, like all work performed on or near energized equipment, installation of any electricity meter must be undertaken with great care by trained professionals. Our trained meter installation technicians carefully inspect the condition of each meter box during any meter installation. We inspect the condition of the electrical connections and wiring; determine if there are any worn, missing or damaged parts; check for illegal additions; and look for evidence of damage on the removed meter. These same protocols will be followed rigorously during the installation of smart meters.
Greater reliability, faster power restoration, convenience, and control are just a few of the many benefits of smart meters.
Separating myths from reality allows you to take advantage of all the benefits that a smarter, more modernized electric grid offers.
Smart Energy Consumer Collaborative